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Applying your makeup can be a little tricky when you have oily skin. Sometimes, it seems like products just slide right off your face, and other times, it feels impossible to combat shininess for longer than a few minutes. Finishing your look with a powder can make a big difference, and luckily, there are a ton of excellent options for addressing oily skin.
Setting powders are called setting powders because they actually set your makeup, helping it stay in place for hours on end. They also absorb moisture and minimize shine, which is ideal for people with oilier complexions. And while some hold up longer than others, you might want to bring one with you for touch-ups just in case. "Normally, people are the oiliest in their T-zone," says Los Angeles-based makeup artist Shay Zeinali. "I recommend to put the setting powder in the T-zone and to use a damp beauty blender to dip into the powder, tap the excess on the back of the hand, and press the powder into the oily areas."
Scroll down for the best setting powders for oily skin.
Best Overall: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
While there are a few top contenders, Laura Mercier's award-winning setting powder is tough to beat. This loose, weightless powder blends effortlessly without streaking your makeup underneath. Zeinali says she always keeps this all-star in her kit, and we can see why. It absorbs oil, eliminates shine, and creates a soft-focus effect that looks stunning in photos—yep, even with the flash on. Best of all, this breathable powder locks in your makeup for a whopping 16 hours.
Best Budget: Covergirl Professional Loose Powder
You don't need to shell out a lot of money to get a pro-level finish. This wallet-friendly loose finishing powder from Covergirl sets your makeup, keeps shine under control, and leaves you with a radiant, healthy-looking complexion. Some even say it's a Laura Mercier dupe.
Best Drugstore: NYX Professional Makeup High Definition Finishing Powder
If you have oily skin, you'll be glad to have NYX's HD Finishing Powder in your arsenal. This lightweight, translucent pressed powder goes on silky smooth (but not at all slick) and leaves a fresh, matte finish in its wake.
Best Splurge: La Mer The Powder
La Mer has luxury face cream down to a semi-secret science, but what about powder? As it turns out, the cult beauty brand's setting powder is just as impressive. Formulated with the brand's famous Miracle Broth, this luxe powder floats over your skin, absorbing oil, blurring pores, and diffusing light.
Best Loose: Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Translucent Setting Powder
Hourglass Veil is an ultra-fine loose powder that goes on smooth, absorbs oil, and blurs the appearance of pores, fine lines, and more. It's also made with light-reflecting particles, which provide a radiant finish without all the shine.
Best Pressed: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Setting Powder
Pressed powders are ideal for on-the-go touch-ups and travel, as they're less messy than their loose counterparts. We're loving this option from the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores line. The universal translucent color works on all skin tones, going on entirely clear and delivering a long-lasting shine-free finish.
Best Blotting: Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Blotting Powder
Rihanna does it again. Invisimate is the sophisticated older sibling of those blotting papers folks with oily skin know and love. Thanks to a special pore-diffusing complex, it minimizes shine, mutes the look of pores, and creates a naturally matte, photo-ready finish. Though the effects are noticeable, this product is truly invisible and never cakey. This means you can apply it as often as you'd like while you go about your day.
Best Talc-Free: Glossier Wowder
Glossier's take on finishing powder is Wowder, a show-stopping blotter that sets your makeup and gives shininess the boot. Whether you want a completely matte finish or like to leave a little dewiness, this versatile powder is up for the task. Plus, the talc-free formula isn't chalky and won't become cakey on oily skin.
Best Mineral: Range Beauty Smooth Out Translucent Powder
This loose setting powder from range beauty is perfectly lightweight and silky smooth. The translucent formula is made with ultra-fine minerals and no talc. You can count on a stunning demi-matte finish and a healthy-looking glow.
Best Shade Range: Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Matte Powder Foundation
Estée Lauder's Double Wear powder can be used as a foundation or to set your makeup. The weightless matte formula goes on sheer, helps control oil, and creates a flawless-looking complexion. Not only that, but it comes in an impressive 41 sades, ranging from espresso to porcelain.
Best Natural: Beauty Bakerie Face Flour Baking Powder
Nodding to the baking makeup technique, Beauty Bakerie's Face Flour sets your foundation, conceals imperfections, and smoothes out your skin. The natural formula contains oil-absorbing minerals and rice starch, plus light-reflecting mica for a radiant, luminous effect.
Best Clean: bareMinerals Mineral Veil Setting Powder
BareMinerals has been in the clean beauty game since the 1970s—well before the rest of the world caught on. The brand's beloved Mineral Veil is perfectly translucent and weightless, making it a go-to for absorbing oil and blurring the appearance of pores. Apply it as a final step to your makeup routine for a beautiful, airbrushed look.
Best for Photos: Danessa Myricks Beauty Evolution Powder
Evolution Powder was developed with flash photography in mind. The super-fine breathable formula sets makeup, absorbs oil, minimizes shine, and diffuses light. Whether you're on set or snapping selfies at home, you can count on a matte finish without compromising dimension.
Best Blurring: Huda Beauty Easy Bake Powder
Huda Beauty's Easy Bake is formulated to blur the look of fine lines and pores and hold your look in place, guaranteeing melt-proof makeup all day. This is another one of Zeinali's favorite setting powders for oily complexions. She appreciates the long-wear finish and broad range of shades for every skin tone.
Best Waterproof: Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Setting Powder
All Nighter is ideal for those days (or nights) when you want to apply your makeup and forget about it. While it might be easier said than done with oily skin, this waterproof setting powder is up for the job. It keeps your skin matte for up to 11 hours and stands its ground against sweat, tears, humidity, and rain.
Where setting powders for oily skin are concerned, Laura Mercier's Translucent Loose Setting Powder is basically untouchable. The loose, lightweight formula blends brilliantly into your skin, setting your foundation without smudging or streaking your makeup. However, if you're on a budget, Covergirl's Clean Professional Loose Finishing Powder is a solid choice. It controls shine, sets your makeup, and leaves you with a pro-level finish.
What to Look For in a Setting Powder for Oily Skin
When buying setting powder, you'll want to take a peek at the ingredients list. Cornstarch or rice starch often make up the bulk of the product. These ingredients absorb oil and help set your makeup. A lot of options also contain minerals, like zinc, magnesium, silica, calcium silicate, and iron oxide. They're generally gentle on all skin types and can even provide complexion-boosting benefits.
Some are made with talc, which can be hit or miss with oily skin. If you run into caking and creasing when applying makeup, look for a talc-free powder. Additionally, some setting powders have light-diffusing ingredients, like mica, bismuth oxychloride, and HDI/trimethylol hexyllactone crosspolymer.
If you're not sure what color to get, we recommend a translucent setting powder for oily skin. The sheer, colorless formula will hold your foundation in place without affecting your makeup look. Think of it as the finishing touch to your getting-ready routine. Also, since you might only apply it to your T-zone, you don't have to worry about an uneven color.
Some translucent powders come in only one universal color. Others are available in a range of shades, which may include a translucent option. If it's labeled as translucent, the powder itself will be pale in color, but it should appear colorless on all skin tones. You can also find many tinted setting powders, which typically offer a sheer finish with just a hint of color.
Pressed vs. loose
Choosing between a loose or pressed setting powder is mostly a matter of preference, as both work well for oily complexions. Loose powders tend to be a little messier, and they typically need to be applied with a brush or beauty sponge. On the other hand, pressed powders usually come in convenient compacts, making it easy to stash one in your purse or pocket. You might consider getting a loose power for at-home makeup and having a pressed option on hand for when you're on the go.
Why Trust Byrdie?
This roundup was written by Theresa Holland, a commerce writer and lifestyle blogger specializing in makeup and skincare. While she's grown to embrace her oily skin, Theresa often uses a setting powder to address shine on her forehead, nose, and chin.